Philippe Starck
Design in time of crisis
Floornature, September 20, 2010
Philippe Starck_Miamiam cutlery
Philippe Starck_Miamiam cutlery
This is the material you can order by the power of your brain. It's not a joke, it's not a dream; both exist. They are laboratory pieces, but they exist. The order what you need by the brain exists since more than twenty years, almost thirty years. The memory, I don't know what, starts to exist since ten years. That means there are products which will be on the market, for the first one, in ten years, the second one, in less than twenty years. If you take the example of the computer - everybody has a computer - the first computer was very weak; it was a building. The second one was weak and it was a room. The third was a big armoire [and] after it was a big suitcase. Two years ago it was a briefcase, now it is an envelope, like the Apple, some now are big like a credit card, and [in the] next ten years that will be under the skin.

Philippe Starck/Bedside gun.
Philippe Starck/Bedside gun.
G.T.: And designers, will they disappear?

Philippe Starck:
That means there is no more design because we are today in a design fair. There is no more design because there is no more object; it's a dematerialization strategy. The next designer is not me; it's your coach, your gym teacher, it's your dietician. That's why in Alias we present today the new collection called Home Gym Office. It is how in artistic, aesthetic easy way, because the next product, the next design, is your body.

Philippe Starck/_Miss-K-00
Philippe Starck/_Miss-K-00
G.T.: So, what's the future of your job?

Philippe Starck: My profession is...first we must know what exactly is this profession. Today I am not sure of what it is because there are some designers who are just the help of marketing to sell more. It means there are some soldiers who follow the very old and obsolete idea of Raymond Loewy, who said in the fifties in [the] US, the ugly is a bad sell ("Le laid se vend mal") and these people just help to make more sexy products that people buy more, produce more and things like that. That is called venality and it is very cynical and completely obsolete. After, you have designers who think they are artists; that means they just design art for other designers. Nobody understands what they do. After, there is now the new generation of designers who are ashamed to be designers; they are ashamed to design a chair; they want really to be artists, they make one piece at one million dollars for one person. I don't know if it is coherent with the crisis also. I don't know if it is really honest and very elegant because I think that the only modern elegance is sharing good ideas. If you haven't a good idea you shut up but if you think you have a good one, you have the duty to share it. After, you have designers like me and, I hope, older than me and better than me who think they have the duty to answer clearly to the real questions, the real needs, the real urgencies.

Philippe Starck_PH5001
Philippe Starck_PH5001
Designers that bring, like me, always a sort of political action - I think that's why we are here today - which brings some direction, like what we presented in the last years, democratic ecology, that means affordable products, easy to find, easy to use, things to produce energy. The first will be on the shelves in September, with a primaire [major] company. After, [with] the next company we [are] creat[ing] now a high tech ecological prefab house with very low cost, to cut, to kill, the cost of housing, because today it is absolutely ridiculous that the second expense of your life must be a home, to be [stay] out of cold and out of rain. The first expense is food, ok, but the second is just to have a home, to have a roof. It's incredibly supid. Expecially today we have a big trend of architecture. Everybody makes buildings more and more exceptional, incredible and more and more costly. Nobody is thinking that during [at] this time there are more and more homeless. When you compare today what is the price of a house and what is the technology of a house - which is zero - to the price of a car and the technology of a car, I can tell you, I hate cars, but a car is incredibly more intelligent and more honest than a house today. If we apply the way of thinking of industry like for a car, like for a product like that, to housing, to home, to architecture, we can improve their price.

G.T.: What about contemporary needs?

Philippe Starck: The first attitude today in life, in society, is first to have some doubt of what we need, and to have some doubt before we shall buy. Maybe we buy things we don't need. But ok, imagine you need a sofa: your first duty now is to look if the design is stainless, for example if you have not to put it in the garbage in two years because it is out of trend and if the material is enough strong, first you to live all your life with and to hope that you will give that to your children and to your grandchildren. That means we bring all the incredibly revolutionary idea, which is so old and so obsolete, of transmission and heritage.

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